Decolonize your ears as Mozart’s works may be an instrument of empire, students told

Cambridge music students are being instructed to “decolonise the ear” and consider the classical canon as “an imperial phenomenon”.

The works of composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Giuseppe Verdi are being taught in relation to topics including European imperialism and Orientalism, as the music faculty pursues work on “curricular decolonisation”.

Undergraduates studying for the course, titled Decolonising the Ear, are taught to consider listening to sound in a “postcolonial” way, while a “music, power, empire” module explores how the classical repertoire is a middle-class and imperial phenomenon.

The music faculty has agreed to offer content warnings ahead of teaching “potential disturbing” musical topics, according to internal documents, after they were requested by students.